Are Atheists Unreasonable Bigots?

Found a video made by a pastor who says that atheists are just unreasonable bigots in the title. He doesn’t do much to back his claim on the ‘bigot’ portion but he did try to provide evidence for the resurrection of Jesus.

Here is my response. I hope you enjoy it.

Advertisements

Re: Atheism is Not a Religion

atheismRan across this post where a theist talks us through why atheism isn’t a religion.

The first paragraph was fairly boring so I’m going to skip it. You can read it in its entirety if you choose by following the link.

I’m going to start in the second paragraph:

A few atheists have made a half-hearted go of trying to worship science. And if that had any lasting power, Sunday services might include playing a clip from Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. But the would-be science worshippers haven’t gotten that far, and it is highly doubtful they ever will.

Well, yeah, because worshiping science would be ridiculous. Do you think it would answer your prayers or hear you in some way? Would you build a shrine to it and burn incense?

Science is a method of observation and study. You’re not going to worship that.

They then move on to humanism.

Secular Humanism is sometimes brought up as something like a religious substitute, but so far it only appears to be a name, a logo, some manifestos no one cares about

Haha. There are quite a few of them. I think they’re a little more than a logo and stuff. I think humanists might be interested in humanist material so by default, I think some people care.

But then they demonstrate they don’t understand what humanism is in the least:

First, because it’s too amorphous to worship—as Chesterton noted, a god composed of seven billion persons neither dividing the substance nor confounding the persons is hard to believe in. The other reason is that worshipping humanity involves worshipping Hitler and Stalin and Mao and so forth.

What the fuck?

Humanism isn’t worshiping people. Humanism is this:

Humanism, with regard in particular to the belief that humanity is capable of morality and self-fulfillment without belief in God.

Come on, mate. If you’re going to write a post, at least use a dictionary or look up what humanism is before making shit up.

And I know that some people will say that atheists worship themselves—I suspect because almost all atheists define morality as nothing more than a personal preference

How would someone worship themselves, exactly?

Yeah. Morality is just a whim to us. We don’t think about ethics at all. We never consider the feelings of others or the harm our actions might do. We just toddle around breaking things, and doing whatever the hell we please.

And in any event, it is inherently impossible to worship oneself. Worshipping something is recognizing something as above oneself, and it is not possible to place oneself above oneself.

Finally! You’re beginning to make sense. Go on.

I think the physical metaphor suffices: if you are kneeling, you can’t look up and see your own feet. You might be able to see an image of yourself in a mirror, but that is not the same, and whatever fascination it might have is still not worship.

Jesus. You’ve really thought this through. Good on you, mate.

Did you try it? Because I just did and you’re absolutely right. But what if I kneel and look backwards through my legs? I can see my butt and a part of my face. Can I worship that?

It doesn’t matter whether you define atheism as a positive denial or a passive lack; either way atheism gives you absolutely no way to be in a right relationship to anything above you, because it doesn’t believe in anything above you.

My ceiling is above me right now.

Oh, we’re talking about above me as in something better or more powerful than me. Well, there are lots of things that fit that description. The sun is more powerful, for example, but I’m not sure why you have to believe in a god-thing to appreciate that.

Religious people know very well that other human beings are dangerous; there is no way in this world to get rid of temptation and sin. But religion gives the possibility of overcoming the collapsing in upon ourselves for which atheism gives no escape.

Human beings are dangerous. Religion hasn’t done a good job of ‘overcoming the collapsing’ though. In many cases, it lends itself to that destruction and makes it easier to justify it. It also insists that it’s right, inoculates itself to criticism and asks humanity to take bad ideas from thousands of years ago and pretend they’re okay now.

Individual atheists almost invariably hold unprovable dogmas with a blind certainty that makes the average Christian look like a skeptic.

Can you name some?

Atheism is not a religion, which is a great pity because atheists would be far better off if it was.

I agree with your conclusion. Atheism is indeed not a religion.

However, I disagree that we’d be better off. Personally, I feel better off being able to think for myself, rather than strap myself to a thousand (or more) year old mythology that comes dripping with dogmas that are clearly wrong, and often dangerous.

I do think we’re getting somewhere though. Spread the word my dear man. Shout it from the rooftops so other religious people can hear you.

Atheism is not a religion!

Atheism Isn’t Code For Being A Douche

It pisses me off when religious people use douche-y examples to describe atheists or atheism in general.

Take this post with the title, Christian or Practical Atheist?

Basically, she’s trying to describe someone who says they are a Christian but act as if they’re atheists.

I had no idea what practical atheism could mean. The actual definition made me stop and examine my own life, with more than a little fear.

You see, a practical atheist doesn’t go by the label “atheist”. They actually would identify as  Christian.

So…a Christian then? If someone says they believe in Jesus and are Christians, then that’s what they are. Just because they might do things you think are un-Christian-like, doesn’t make them an atheist.

And why were you afraid?

The very fact that this loving religion made you afraid should be a red flag of epic proportions.

A practical atheist accepts God in theory but rejects him in..you guessed it..practice.

Do you follow everything in the Bible?

If you did, you’d likely be in jail. I guess you’re a practical atheist.

Then she gets to the actual meat of her post by giving examples of practical atheists.

This should be a hoot…

This is the church-goer who screws people over in day to day business dealings without a smidgen of remorse.

Church clearly isn’t doing anything for them then. Either that or they’ve learned the lessons too well and think they can just ask forgiveness later and a magic being will make it okay to be a douche. Religion is very good at taking away personal responsibility and hefting it onto the shoulders of a deity.

This is the person who asks God to bless them but never invites God into any other area of their life.

What does that even mean?

This is the woman blasting Gospel music on her way to meet her married boyfriend.

Um, no. That would be a Christian being a douche. Not all atheists or even a majority of atheists go around sleeping with married people.

Please take head out of buttocks.

Then she attempts to describe what it’s like to be a Christian:

Let me put it another way. Anyone who has encountered the living God comes away from that experience a different person.

If you were hit by a Mack Truck, people would be able to see the evidence. If you claimed to be hit by a Mack Truck, but your car was fine and you didn’t have a scratch on you, people might have a hard time believing you’d really been in an accident.

That sounds thoroughly unpleasant. So being a Christian is like being hit by a transport truck.

Being a Christian merely means believing in Jesus. The rest is just window dressing. Christian’s can’t even agree on what Christianity wants, which is why you have around 40,000 sects.

This dear friend said she’d been a “Christian” for a long time, but a few years ago, looking back, she’d never really seen the evidence of it in her life.

Maybe because it’s a myth and this deity doesn’t exist?

Practical atheists (and actual atheists, for that matter), God loves you so very much. While you are still breathing, you can turn to him and ask for a legit relationship, for forgiveness, and salvation. He doesn’t hold grudges and he will help you walk through what it means to actually follow him.

I didn’t know you spoke for God, but thanks I’ll pass. I can ask for forgiveness from the real people I’ve wronged. No need for an invisible entity, and certainly not one as ethically reprehensible as the one described in the bible. If I ever need instructions on how to stone disobedient children, commit genocide by drowning or how to treat a slave, I’ll turn to your bible.

How about having a relationship with real people. They love you as well.

Stop Excusing The Murder Of Children

Yesterday I briefly responded to James Bishop’s ‘refutation’ of my post ’10 Ways To Improve The Bible’. In that post, he defended slavery and made excuses for it, but in part 2 of his refutation, he goes a step further and actually excuses the killing of children.

Here’s what he said:

This is a critique of the law that imposed a severe punishment on intensely rebellious children. However, GC is being far too simple in his analysis for, as exegete Paul Copan explains, “We’re not talking about a little practical joker or even about a teenager who won’t clean up his room. No, he’s an utter delinquent whose hardened, insubordinate behavior simply can’t be corrected, despite everyone’s best efforts. He’s a repeat offender: “when they [his father and his mother] chastise him, he will not even listen to them” (Deut. 21:18). He’s a picture of insubordination—“a glutton and a drunkard” (v. 20; cf. Prov. 23:20–21). This serious problem would have had a profoundly destructive effect on the  family and the wider community.

Let me get this straight…this powerful being couldn’t figure out any other way to handle ‘intensely rebellious children’ than to have them stoned by the community?

You’re kidding, right?

Apparently he is not because he continues:

The parents aren’t in the picture any longer; they’re not taking charge of punishment. Rather, the community carries out this exercise of social responsibility. And when it takes this drastic action, it’s a tragic last resort to deal with this trouble” (4). I take such a child to be an uncontrollable burden to his community & family that threatened its stability. God commanded his people to be holy as well as to “purge the evil from among you” (Deu. 17:7) and I believe that such a child brought evil & disrepair to the community and thus needed to be dealt with since no other method of discipline had worked prior. For the people of God it would seem that these punishments were to be sobering reminders of what God expected.

And yet we don’t need to resort to such barbarity today, because we understand ethics, sociology and psychology (among other things) better than this supposed God.

God was way behind the curve it seems, because He was ordering the murder of children as the only possible solution when dealing with particularly difficult children.

It disgusts me in the extreme that this person is apologizing and excusing the killing of children behind a banner of morality.

Also, there’s this little tidbit about my point that this God could have provided the bible in all the known languages to avoid confusion:

Is GC really being serious here? Does he expect the Bible to have been written in all 6500 world languages (1)? That would be a mess. Again, like most other arguments by GC this is a non-sequitur.

Is that too much to ask from a deity, who has put in place a main requirement to understand and believe in Him? You make it sound like it’s beyond His power and is not a reasonable thing to expect from a being who can literally create everything, but fails to realize that Hebrew is not the ideal language to pass along a message and that providing copies written in languages everyone can understand could help avoid a TON of confusion.

I also don’t think you know what ‘non-sequitur’ means, but whatever.

Does GC think that God is some magical vending machine that you poke and then expect something to pop out? It would appear so.

No. In fact, even when you’re excusing child murder, you might notice it’s people who have to carry out the punishments.

Funny how that works.

He then goes on to tell us that the bible has knowledge that someone of that time couldn’t have known, such as:

To name a few, the authors mention details such as the creation of the universe from nothing

Which this God got wrong. The order of events is wrong for one thing.

the early Earth being covered in water of which is an accurate scientific description of early Earth

Between the very large asteroids and meteors, that covered the surface in molten lava.

And why couldn’t someone of that era guess that the world was covered by water?

the Earth being stationed in the expanse of space (Job 26:7)

Space is not mentioned. You’re grasping at straws. It says it’s hung over nothing. The Earth isn’t hung on anything and I wouldn’t call gravity nothing.

the description of springs at the bottom of oceans

You mean ‘fountains’? And this is after this God created a flood that scientists can find no evidence for; that closely resembles other flood myths that predate Christianity; a global flood that would break the laws of physics?

That flood?

He ends his refutation with:

I am also sure that Godless Cranium and I will have further interactions.

That’s unlikely, sir.

When someone excuses slavery and the killing of children, I quickly realize that they are probably beyond reason. They will make any excuse to continue to believe in their favorite myth. Further discussion is likely a waste of time.

But I wish you well. I hope that at some point, you realize that excusing child murder and slavery isn’t a good use of your time, and is unethical to say the least.

At Least Read What I Wrote Before Refuting Me

Fellow blogger, James Bishop, has written a rebuttal to a mostly tongue in cheek post I made quite awhile ago, where I set out a few ways (10 to be exact) that the bible could be improved.

You can read the entire post he wrote by following the first link above. The second link is to my original post.

I’m not going to respond to it all, because after reading his rebuttal a few times, I find myself wondering whether he actually read my entire post before responding.

For example, he writes this in his response to my first point:

Further, GC’s comment that “this book is not to be taken literally” is further silly because the Bible is not one book as he seems to think it is. Instead it is 66 books written by 40 or more authors over a period of 1600 or so years. You would think that someone who is telling us how to improve the Bible would at least know this.

Okay, so keep in mind he doesn’t think I know that the bible was written by multiple people.

But in the last point he’s responding to, I literally wrote this:

GC: “Have one person writing the bible. You could solve so much with this one alone. Hell, better yet, why not do the writing yourself.”

Ummmm…clearly I understood the bible was written by many people…because that’s exactly what I said in point 5 of my original post.

So why, dear James Bishop, would you think I did not know that in the first point you responded to?

Anyhow, moving right along. I want to respond to this point he makes:

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved…” (10:9) – are we to really believe that Jesus was a literal wooden door with a door handle? Obviously not. On the other hand Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the 5000 thousand as attested in all our gospels almost certainly happened and reads as a straightforward historical narrative (this miracle passes the criterion of multiple attestation & undesigned coincidences thus i take it as historical).

Come on man. Do you take me for a fool? Of course most people don’t think Jesus was a literal wooden door. It’s freaking obvious.

However, you’re second assertion is false. You can easily find many people who argue that the whole feeding 5000 people thing was an allegory. For example, you have this one here:

The five loaves represents the five books of Moses, in which we find five refreshments for the soul. The first loaf is the rebuking of sin by contrition; the second is the laying bare of sin in confession; the third is the abasement and humiliation in satisfaction; the fourth Is zeal for souls in preaching; the fifth is the sweetness of our heavenly home in contemplation.

Another words…blah, blah, blah. You’d think this God would know that the written word is a poor way to pass on a lifesaving message. Did He not know this was going to happen? Did he intend on not being clear?

A quick Internet search is all that is needed to show that not everyone thinks the feeding of 5000 people is strictly fact and not allegorical in nature. Of course this is the case, because even some people of faith have a hard time convincing themselves of magic.

And you can take it as historical fact all you want. Please show evidence that anyone is capable of doing what Jesus supposedly did. Then I’ll believe you. Until then, I don’t believe in your magical story.

Then he goes on to defend slavery…errr…’indentured servitude’:

What we see is that God puts in place laws to protect servants (or as the atheist likes to call them “slaves” that resemble the 18th century slave trade) from experiencing abuse at the hands of their masters. Old Testament “slavery” was more analogous to “contractual employment” or “indentured servitude” – much like a sports player who is “owned” by a team or a person contracted to serve a set time in the military. However, instead of abolishing indentured servanthood outright God installs laws to protect the servant.

What the…

Are you insane? These people lived in horrid conditions. They were owned. They weren’t like the rock star athletes you so whimsically reference. They were used for labor and sexual gratification.

I feel a blood vessel throbbing in my temple so I’ll leave it with this – a quote from Greg Carey who is a Professor of the New Testament:

Don’t let anybody tell you that biblical slavery was somehow less brutal than slavery in the United States. Without exception, biblical societies were slaveholding societies. The Bible engages remarkably diverse cultures — Ethiopian, Egyptian, Canaanite, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman — but in every one of them some people owned the rights to others. Slaveowners possessed not only the slaves’ labor but also their sexual and reproductive capacities. When the Bible refers to female slaves who do not “please” their masters, we’re talking about the sexual use of slaves. Likewise when the Bible spells out the conditions for marrying a slave (see Exodus 21:7-11).

I could also reference dozens of biblical passages about slavery, but I’ll urge you to read the book for yourself, which might prevent further humiliation brought about by having to defend slavery.

I don’t know what else to say. The rest was merely mental gymnastics and I don’t feel it was worthy of a response.

I look forward to the second part of his rebuttal.

What do you think of his article and do you think he makes any valid points?

As always, thanks for reading!

God’s Off The Hook! We Let People Starve

I often run into the argument that people starve because we let them and so God isn’t responsible. At first brush, this argument seems to make sense because it does make some sense if you take God out of the equation. You can easily make the case that people starve because we don’t share resources well and/or we’re a selfish species.

I ran into this comment again today. Here’s what the original comment said:

Something that always amazes me, why don’t we ever ask, how come humans don’t feed all the starving children? We live on a planet with abundant resources and enough food for all. So how come some children still go hungry?

One problem is that people don’t like to look at the nature of human depravity and some of the horrors we are capable of creating and inflicting on each other. The conditions that create starvation are totally man made, but we never just say, “sheesh people can be outright evil,” instead we demand to know why God allows these things to happen. Some people then go on to try to argue that God must be evil for allowing it, for not protecting people from the full horror of the consequences of our own actions.

While seeming to make sense, this argument misses the point completely and attempts to redirect blame.

Of course people ask why we don’t do more as a species to feed people. The reason why this was brought up in the first place was because God was added to the equation. Let me illustrate why the above argument doesn’t make sense.

Imagine that the picture below included five other human beings who were sitting there eating hamburgers while this poor child looked on. These five people are well fed and they have constant access to more food but instead of sharing, they just keep eating.

Starved_girlYou could hang a red plaque above each of the hypothetically well-fed people in the picture and label them, ‘evil assholes’. I doubt very many people would argue.

Now let’s suppose that God enters the room, and he’s sitting with those five people. Does he get a pass? And if so, why would he get a pass?

By adding a sixth person, it doesn’t mitigate the essential point that no matter how many people are watching this child starve, each of them are equally to blame.

Now give the sixth person in the room (God) magical powers – he doesn’t have to produce the food. He doesn’t have to transport it. He doesn’t have to distribute it. He doesn’t even need to pay for it. All he has to do is will it into existence and this child could eat.

But instead, this deity continues to sit with the other five people while they eat their hamburgers and look on disdainfully.

That’s the point. That’s the problem of evil.

This is the circular reasoning that religion often employs – if something good happens, it’s God who should be thanked. If something bad happens, it’s our fault. No matter what, God would get a free pass.

It makes more sense when you take God out of the equation. At that point, you can make the argument that we’re the cause and we should be doing more to prevent starvation.